Teens do not sleep as much as they used to, sacrificing their rest to spend time on tablets and phones.
Experts say that teens need a minimum of 9 hours sleep each night in order to be fully productive and engaged during the day. Anything less could cause sleepiness during the day and interfere with daily or school activities.
Faced with a myriad of distractions, what are teens actually averaging for sleep now? Researchers analyzed two national long-term surveys of over 360,000 teens who were in eighth grade through 12th grade.
One survey of eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders asked how often they slept a minimum of seven hours. The other asked students in high school what their average length of sleep was each school night.
In 2015, four of 10 teens slept 7 hours or less each night, which was up 58% since a survey in 1991 and 17% higher than a survey in 2009, when use of smartphones became mainstream said researchers.
The leader of the study said that teens began sleeping less just when most started to use smartphones, which is a very suspicious trend.
In the study published in Sleep Medicine on October 19, researchers said that the more time spent by students online, the less amount of sleep they got.
For example, those who spent five hours online per day were 50% more apt to become sleep-deprived compared to classmates who had limited their daily online time to only an hour.
Other studies have shown light from a tablet or smartphone can help to disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle of the body.
The body is trying to meet its needs for sleep always, which means that sleep would interfere in other areas of daily life, said the study’s co-author.
The researcher added that teens might catch up with their sleep through naps or they might start sleeping during school.
A news release of the study said that although tablets, smartphones and other handheld electronic devices have been essential parts of daily life, moderation is the key. Everyone, said the press release both young and old, need to limit the hours to just two each day to their tablets or smartphones.
Researchers added that given how important sleep is for both mental and physical health, both adults and teens need to consider whether their use of smartphones has started to interfere with them getting a sufficient amount of sleep.